That’s a wrap

The well guy surprised us this morning — he called us from The Mountain long before we planned to leave the campground to meet him on the property. We conducted business on the phone, then, which was relatively easy since he’d been there once before.

Basically he wanted to confirm that we’d followed his instructions for clearing the way for his drilling rig and support truck. Other than a bunch of uprooted stumps that’ll need to move to the large brush pile near the road, we got his approval.

Well-drilling work, like everything else the last couple of years, is a lot more expensive these days. The high cost is a deal-breaker for some homebuilders and it could be for us, considering the expected depth of our well on The Mountain. We got some reassuring news from the contractor today, however, giving us hope that it’s within our budget.

It looks like the work may begin in late January or early February.

On our way out of Harrison yesterday we returned to the Sears Hometown store. We’d seen on its Facebook page that liquidation discounts had increased, and we wanted to see if anything on our shopping list was worth buying there.

Kitchen and laundry appliances? Not even close. Gas grills? Nope. That DeWalt miter saw I have my eye on? Still way too pricey.

Lawn and garden implements were marked down 50%. We spotted a small dump cart that’d be pretty perfect for pulling behind the Ranger, but we decided to leave without it.

Deb and I talked about the cart while running around The Mountain yesterday and we did a little research. The best price we found, locally or online, was $260, and Sears Hometown was selling this one for $150. We came back at the end of the day and bought it.

It’s an Agri-Fab model with a capacity of 650 pounds, “made in USA of global materials.” The ten-cubic-foot poly bed dumps via a foot release, which I like. It weighs just a shade over 50 pounds.

A compatible clevis hitch for the Ranger’s receiver ($30) and an extended pin ($6) will arrive next week.

The Ranger is rated to tow 1,500 pounds, so even with a maximum load this cart won’t strain our buggy’s abilities. Choosing a pull-behind this small was intentional — given the terrain and often-sketchy traction on The Mountain, along with the natural human tendency to overload, it made sense.

Let’s do some math. The payload capacity of a 2019 Polaris Ranger 570 Midsize, according to the spec sheet, is 1,000 pounds. Ours is fitted with a full cab and a headache rack, which together probably weigh 150 pounds. Add Deb and me, along with the tongue weight of this fully loaded cart, and we’re left with 300 pounds of carrying capacity. (The Ranger’s dump bed is rated for 500 pounds.)

Our new cart, loaded to its rating, would tip the scales at 700 pounds, less than half the Ranger’s tow rating. I’ll take that 800-pound cushion all day long — less stress on power train, axles, brakes and every other component in the chain.

If we need to haul more than the little Agri-Fab can accommodate, Deb’s cousin has offered us the use of a larger steel cart.

Both of our trailcams have been quiet lately, save a couple of roaming retrievers belonging to a neighbor. What activity we do see usually happens after dark — fox, ‘coons and such. Around 7:30pm yesterday a coyote made an appearance on Mountain One. (Animated GIF below.)

Roughly 90 minutes later we saw whitetails on both cameras — a very nice-looking doe and a yearling.

It still makes me smile to think of the wildlife we’ve caught on these two cameras. Deer, of course. Bobcat. Coyote. Gray fox. Trash pandas and piggies. And these are just two small windows on a world we’ll soon be a part of ourselves.

Nothing can compare to being there, of course. But for now, this’ll do.

Happy New Year, y’all.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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